5th August, 2019, shall be remembered as one of the important days in the history of our country; on his day, Amit Shah, Home Minister of India introduced the bill in the Rajya Sabha for the scrapping of Article 370 of the constitution of India and reorganization of the State of Jammu & Kashmir into two separate Union territories. This, much-awaited historical correction is an attempt to integrate the state with the rest of India. This much delayed task required proper strategy and planning, which PM Modi and Amit Shah duo carried out meticulously.
This step is a beginning of the much-required strategic re-thinking among the policy makers of the country. Firstly, it has deprived an exclusive space to Muslim communalists and radical separatists on the soil of larger Indian secular state. Over the years, successive dispensations both at the center and state had allowed the secessionists forces to take root in the valley and turn this beautiful state of India into an exclusive Islamist territory. Though more efforts would be required to eliminate these radical elements from the valley, an honest beginning has been made in this direction. Secondly, this reorganization shall also do way with the regional discrimination faced by nationalist people of Ladakh and Jammu. Be it development, jobs, or distribution of economic share for all regions of the state, Kashmir always took the lions share, thus discriminating against the other two regions. This encouraged disenchantment among the people of these two regions. The present reorganization, besides correcting this imbalance, also eliminates the often- witnessed hostile politics against India. It will also go a long way in encouraging progressive politics based on development and national integration.
The well-planned strategy saw the security agencies taking control of all the vital locations in the valley while the Army was tasked to prevent any ingress of terrorists from Pakistan into Kashmir. One could see the pattern of actions likely to unfold throughout the fortnight, preceding the introduction of the constitutional amendments in the Parliament. It was becoming evident that something big was going to happen; but no one could imagine that such a large- scale and sweeping changes would be affected in a single stroke. Main stream politicians like Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, However, could sense that something was in the offing. PDP chief, who had been rejected by the people in the recently held general elections, upped the ante and asked the people to be ready for sacrifices if any changes were intended to be made to the state’s constitutional status. Actually, in garb of protecting Kashmiri interests, she was, in fact, fighting to retain her relevance in Kashmir politics.
People believed in her rumors and stocked provisions for a long haul in case of any disturbances. Though both NC and PDP tried to raise the sentiments, but separatist leaders largely kept quiet for various reasons; most important being that the central government had succeeded in isolating them by initiating investigations against them in various terror funding/ money laundering cases. These investigations actually pushed them to the wall, robbing them of much relevance to Kashmir. The other important message which the separatist got was that the present Modi-led government would not hesitate from adopting tough measures.
With changes happening in AfPak region, where US is trying to exit and where Pakistan Army is trying to persuade Trump to mediate in Kashmir as a quid pro quo for its help in allowing the U.S to extricate itself, Modi government understood Pakistan’s dangerous game-plan and its serious implications for India’s security. This, perhaps, pushed Modi into action of this kind.
Pakistan’s would, as a feeler to Kashmiris, escalate the LoC, activate its terror network in valley. Consequently, India would be forced to retaliate, thus helping Pakistan internationalize the Kashmir issue. However, firstly, India is unlikely to fall into this trap and secondly, with its direct responsibility for the security of the state, the government is likely to plug all loop holes in ensuring complete safety and security of the people of the state.
It took 370 votes in Lok Sabha to reorganize the state and end article 370, what a coincidence! At the same time the bill in Rajya Sabha was passed with two third of the votes. Political parties like TDP, BSP, YSRCP, BJD and AAP, all came in support of the government and ensured its smooth passage. This also happened in the Lok Sabha, where Congress leaders rebelled against party and voted for the bill, reflecting the mood of the nation.
The repealing of the archaic laws saw a widespread jubilation among the people of the country and more so, by the people of Jammu and Ladakh regions. Displaced Kashmiri Pandits, who celebrated the events with gusto, have a reason to be happy as they had always voiced against this article which was one of the reasons for their displacement.
Naad Pays Homage to the Stalwarts of the Community:
Month of July saw the passing away of the two stalwarts of the community.
On 6th July, community lost Dr. M K Teng, an eminent political scientist, scholar, writer, author and thinker. He was one of the leading thinkers among the community who guided the community for its political emancipation. In his passing away community has lost a great scholar and well-wisher. Dr. Teng’s seminal work on Article 370, Northern Frontiers and Myth and Autonomy are worth reading. We at Naad pray for the departed soul.
On 18th July, Sh. A N Kaul ‘Sahib’, the former Editor-in-Chief of Naad, left for his heavenly sojourn. His loss was a setback to all of us in Naad, as he had nurtured Naad like his own baby. The benchmarks he set up, are very high. It was his vision and hard work which saw
Naad becoming the major voice of the community. This special issue of Naad is being dedicated to the memory of Sh. A N Kaul ‘Sahib’.
-Sunil Raina Rajanaka